WXYZ: Kevin Ketels on infant formula shortages

A nationwide infant formula shortage has families in metro Detroit struggling to feed their babies. Empty shelves and signs rationing out supplies is a sight many have not seen since the early days of the pandemic. But moms across metro Detroit say it’s a constant crisis. Moms are struggling to find sensitive-stomach and lactose-free formulas, and some are relying on limited doctors’ samples or cans brought from relatives out-of-state. “We had a bad situation with access to baby formula before, and the recall by Abbott only made it worse,” said Kevin Ketels, an associate professor at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. Ketels says a massive federal recall earlier in the year is one of the causes for the empty shelves, with 31% of formula products being out of stock across the country. According to Ketels, Abbott has begun airlifting formula products to the states to fill the gap, and other companies are looking at ways to stretch the supply. But he said the solution could take weeks, not months. “Hopefully, the company can ramp up production quickly and we can avoid the severe shortages that we have right now, but we ill not be able to escape the general shortages just because of the pandemic.” 

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